Effectiveness of tilmicosin against Paenibacillus larvae, the causal agent of American Foulbrood disease of honeybees

Reynaldi, F.J.; Albo, G.N.; Alippi, A.M.

Veterinary microbiology 132(1-2): 119-128


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-1135
PMID: 18539412
DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.04.034
Accession: 031128796

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American Foulbrood (AFB) of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.), caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Paenibacillus larvae is one of the most serious diseases affecting the larval and pupal stages of honeybees (A. mellifera L.). The aim of the present work was to asses the response of 23 strains of P. larvae from diverse geographical origins to tilmicosin, a macrolide antibiotic developed for exclusive use in veterinary medicine, by means of the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the agar diffusion test (ADT). All the strains tested were highly susceptible to tilmicosin with MIC values ranging between 0.0625 and 0.5 microg ml(-1), and with MIC(50) and MIC(90) values of 0.250 microg ml(-1). The ADT tests results for 23 P. larvae strains tested showed that all were susceptible to tilmicosin with inhibition zones around 15 microg tilmicosin disks ranging between 21 and 50mm in diameter. Oral acute toxicity of tilmicosin was evaluated and the LD(50) values obtained demonstrated that it was virtually non-toxic for adult bees and also resulted non-toxic for larvae when compared with the normal brood mortality. Dosage of 1000 mg a.i. of tilmicosin applied in a 55 g candy resulted in a total suppression of AFB clinical signs in honeybee colonies 60 days after initial treatment. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the effectiveness of tilmicosin against P. larvae both in vitro and in vivo.